Day 375

Brewmaster students sometimes get a chance to be a bit creative outside the college–but frequently you have to be flexible with regards to time–and sleep.

Earlier this week, I got a text message from my summertime brewery: would I be willing to come in early on Saturday morning to brew up a special beer of my choice on their pilot system for the upcoming Cask Days festival?


Saturday sunrise over Toronto: Hey, there’s no rush hour!

Well, yes I would. So it was that well before the sun arose, I was heading into Toronto, trying to get my brain going with a large double double. On the plus side: no rush-hour traffic on a Saturday morning.

Two weeks ago in Sensory Evaluation, Chef Olson had showed us a chipotle pepper that he had created by smoking/dehydrating a jalapeño pepper. Since then, the idea of brewing a spicy chipotle beer had been at the back of my mind. I was thinking of using a dark porter or stout as a base–smoked porters are all the rage in some places–but I didn’t want the roasted barley notes of the porter to overwhelm the smokiness of the chipotles. Hmmm. A black lager (known in Germany as ein schwarzbier) is noted for having no roasty notes. Hmmm. Okay, let’s go with the black lager.

So it was that I arrived at the brewery in the cold light of dawn clutching what was left of my large doube double and 500 grams of Black Prinz malt–a malted barley that is designed to add dark colour to a beer without adding any roasty, chocolate or coffee notes.

The brew went well, and boy, was it black. Dark black coffee black. Alas, the specific gravity was a bit lower than expected–I’ll have to check my recipe on Monday in Brewhouse Calculations. But it was black. Adding lager yeast to the wort made it, by definition, a black lager.

Next step while the lager is fermenting is to buy some jalapeño peppers. Oh, and find a smoker. And find out how to use the smoker. And smoke the jalapeños. And then doubtless buy a second batch of jalapeños. And then smoke them properly the second time around.

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4 Comments on “Day 375”

  1. Ok, I’m going to ask it here… You’re using lager yeast but cask days are October 27/28. Is there something special that is happening in house that you’re able to get it out there so quickly? I’m sure it’s secret, proprietary stuff so you can say that if you like. 😉

    • Alan Brown Says:

      Uhhh, why yes! It’s secret proprietary stuff. That’s the ticket!

      Actually, I’m counting on having about 5 weeks for primary ferment and maturation, then a week in the cask for secondary fermentation, which should clean up any diacetyl and other compounds that might be left over.

      The timeline is tight–much tighter than for an ale–but I think it will work out.

  2. Sonja Says:

    I hope you didn’t take that photo while driving!

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